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Labour is central to capitalism and agrarian change: as the reproductive labour that sustains social life and provides workers for sites of production; as the source of surplus value extracted from the labour process and distributed unevenly along commodity chains and across society; and as the wage-labour and petty self-employment that are the primary bases of survival. This chapter argues that it is also the driving force of politics. Social antagonisms between capital and labour play out in homes, workplaces, neighbourhoods and ‘public’ institutions; in sites of natural resource appropriation; and amongst ideological struggles over consciousness of possibilities for change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Critical Agrarian Studies
EditorsHaroon Akram-Lodhi, Kristina Dietz, Bettina Engels, Ben McKay
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Social reproduction, labour process, exploitation, dispossession, capital, consciousness.

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